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Yishun retailer selling 20 masks for S$138, MP visits shop after receiving complaints

This is not right, says Louis Ng, who adds that MTI has been alerted to the case

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Singapore – There have been more complaints about shops profiteering from the sale of surgical face masks amid the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) here.

Following reports of earlier cases, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) released an advisory stating that it was looking into complaints against one retailer and that it was seeking more information on profiteering companies from e-commerce platforms like  Lazada, Carousell and Qoo10.

“Failure to comply with the request for information (basis for their selling prices, cost price and profit margins) can be liable to be fined up to $10,000 for the first offence, and up to $20,000 for the second and subsequent offences,” according to the advisory.

It appears that there are still those who continue to profit from the situation. A Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang, visited one particular Yishun shop after receiving numerous complaints that it was overpricing the masks. A box of 20 N95 masks was being sold for S$138 or S$6.90 for each.

“This is not right,” wrote Mr Ng on his Facebook profile posted on Saturday (Feb 8).

“A box of masks for $138,” he said in surprise. “Many Nee Soon East residents have alerted me about this, and I visited the shop today.” Mr Ng added that he had spoken to the staff of the shop.

“Anyone can sell masks, but no one should be profiteering. Retailers profiteering from the situation will be taken to task,” wrote Mr Ng, who also said that the MTI had been alerted about the shop and that it would investigate the matter.

Mr Ng added: “This is a time when we all need to come together and help each other rather than try to take advantage of the situation and profit from it.”

Some netizens, commenting on the photo of Mr Ng holding a box of face masks with the price indicated at the front, said the currency symbol looked like that for the Chinese Yuan. Mr Ng clarified that he had confirmed with the shop that it was the Sing dollar.

Netizen Bee Leng Hapi, meanwhile, mentioned an experience on Qoo10. An order had been placed on Jan 31 for a box of masks at S$14.50 but it had not been received. When asked for an update, the retailer on Qoo10 had replied that there was a problem and that a refund could be sought. The netizen pointed out that the masks were still being sold on Qoo10 but now the price was S$30 plus.

Photo: FB screengrab/ Louis Ng Kok Kwang

There were then more comments about similar experiences with other sellers. A Facebook page called SG Blacklists Profiteering Retailers has also been created. /TISG

[ This is not right ? ]A box of masks for $138 ? Many Nee Soon East residents have alerted me about this and I visited…

Posted by Louis Ng Kok Kwang on Saturday, February 8, 2020

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